PKD -7/10/04.....what a theme park should be

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Left Manassas VA bound for PKD at around 8:30 AM & got there just after 10 AM,got the tickets & headed on through the gates.

The first thing we noticed that was much better in comparison to SFA was the security procedures,once through the metal detectors they have a seperate bag check area just in front of the fountains on international street(SFA should use a similar setup to speed guests through the gates like that).

Having cleared security with a 15 minute wait for the official rope drop to signal the opening of the rides for the day the guys & I headed to the Eiffel tower for the traditional view of the park from above,PKD has changed quite a bit of course in it's 29 year history but there are still those landmarks of the park that look especially beautiful when viewed from the tower's observation deck.

Once back on solid ground the rides were now fully operational & we just had to get a good old coaster in so we started the day off right with a good lap on Grizzly.

As expected the Grizz was a walk on with about a two train wait for the front(orange train)although she's running just a tad on the rough side she's still a great ride even after 22 years- 9/10.

Next up HS:XLC:now here's where things got just a tad out of control as by the time we neared the platform we notice this rather large woman just standing there not moving,it turns out she's waiting for her kid who left the queue for a rest room break,a fight nearly broke out between us & her about her son cutting in front of all of uss when the park rules clearly state that you may not hold places in line for anyone for any reason should they leave the queue.

As for the ride itself....they put new bars on which now sport a new hand grip,no longer do you have to hold onto the vertical post as if you're about to ride a mechanical bull or something,a word of warning about the brakes though:whatever you do don't hold your hands up or you'll go flying into the bar which really hurts.-8/10

After a quick lunch break at the new happy days diner we were off to the log the food service at PKD is just fabulous ,not only is the food there tasty but the staff are very friendly & efficient compared to SFA & the theming is great too.

Time to get wet so it was off to the good old log flume,now I havn't ridden this since my first trip to the park way back in the early 80's so it was a real treat to ride this PKD classic once again,the drops are a lot smaller than I remember but it's still a great way to cool off on a hot day.-9.5/10

Next up some flats including wave swinger & triple spin....Now at first I thought I'd be sick on TS but the ride is not bad at all & the placement of this ride in front of Shockwave isn't bad either,SFA should get one of these & put it on the sky escaper site. 8.5/10

Time for some more coasters including Rebel yell forward & backward:now the forward side is running suprisingly well for a 29 year old woodie,too bad the same can't be said for the backward side. 9.5/10

Ricochet was next up & was just as good...if not better than last year,PKD has a real winner with this wild mouse design. 9.5/10

After a quick dinner break at the pizza place next to wave swinger it was time for yet more coasters,but first a quick ride on DZ....this time we got the orange side facing Rebell yell & couldn't see anything going on over at the DF graveyaard,same great drop as last year which simply blows SFA's puny TOD away. 10/10

Now it's time to check out the new for 04 ride Scooby doo & the haunted mansion: PKD & the sally corp. did a fabulous job with the theming of this ride especially in the exterior queue,you're treated to clips of the classic cartoon series as well as some great animatronics...the mystery machine stuck in the mud is just the perfect touch to the theme of this superb dark ride.

Anyhow I only managed a score of 360(well 390 if you count the 30 points gained using the other gun in the empty seat I was riding in). 9.5/10

Next up on the coaster list,Avalanche:now every time I go near this it seems to break,not so this time around & the wait wasn't too bad either....a really good ride for it's type & still running smooth as butter. 9.5/10

Anaconda was next on the agenda & all I can say about it is that the thing is rough as hell(darn Arrow horsecollars) but other than that an OK ride in the front seat. 8/10

A quick flight aboard FOF seemed to be in order so we headed over there next & had a modest wait....while on the ride I was so busy comparing it to JJ & trying to remember the inversion order as we hit each one,it was hilarious.8.5/10

Now I had made a deal earlier in the day with a friend to ride Hurler in return for him riding the carousel with me(see Rail junkie's TR)what a big mistake that was because after just one lap I had a tremendous headache & am never riding that piece of firewood ever again. 4.5/10

It was getting late so you know what that means? it means a night time marathon on the Grizz!

Once again we were greeted with an empty station & were able to stay on the train as long as nobody was waiting for our seat,I got in a few laps up front on the yellow train but had to ride in the middle later on,now if I haadn't ridden Hurler I would've stayed on til closing but after about 6 to 8 laps I had haad enough,still was a great ride with that tunnel that comes out of nowhere,it got me to drop my hands rather fast each & every time.10/10 & then some :).

With that my friends & I headed out of the park to begin the long drive back north to Manassas VA. but we'll certainly be back next season with or without a new ride.

With service this good PKD doesn't really need anything new to get me to come back through their gates,as long as they continue to provide the level of service & quality we were shown on this trip we'll be coming back for more...thanks for reading(& hopefully posting a reply or two).

No Volcano on this trip? That's a ride that has always intrigued me...

But then again, what do I know?

Nope,the queue for both V:TBC & SW were just too long to bother with,besides V:TBC gave me a major a$$ kicking last year with those new black restraints.
rail junkie's avatar
Your PKD trip report was very interesting reading.Even though iyt was very very long.I try not too make my trips reports to long. I try to get every in in short of a trip report as I can.I think that SFA should get those tables and set it in front of the gate so that there won't be a huge line hold up.

Rail Junkie
Batwing Fan SFA - Those "black" restraints are the same as the ones before, only the old ones were yellow - nothing changed other than the color.
Are you sure about that Matt? for some reason I had one rough ride on it last season.

Another thing I forgot to mention is that it looks like Hurler has one train with the SF style lap bars(the one I was in)I always assumed they'd just stick to the same style for both trains that the other adult woodies in the park use.

crazy horse's avatar
Sounds like a great park.

Cant wait to visit in aug for the first time. The only thing that I can see that is negative about this park is the lack of flat rides/spin and pukes.

ApolloAndy's avatar
SF style? You mean the individual ratcheting lapbars?

Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

One thing you need to remember is that PKD is 29 years old SFA is (under current mgt) maybe 12 or 13.

Also, a highly paid design team laid out PKD, and (from what I can figure out) SFA was designed by a drunk on a bad day (way back when it was Wild World) SFA is doing what it can to make the best of its situation. Remember PKD opened with the infrastructure it has, SFA almost literally had cow paths for walkways, and is located in a county where you need a park and planning permit to change your mind...............

PKD is an awesome park, but I believe that comparing it to SFA does no good. If you wish to compare it to another park BGW would be a good comparison.


Batwing Fan - Unless the change is very minor, I'm very sure. Although it doesn't make me an expert, but PKD is my homepark and those yellow restraints were getting old and beat up anyway. On the yellow ones, the padding between the shoulders/head would have turned black sooner or later, so I guess they figured they would speed up the process. Volcano has also started to become a headbanger the further back you go.

Sam - I agree it isn't really fair to compare PKD to SFA. But, I dont think PKD and BGW are much of a comparison either. Other than rides, BGW is simply in a whole different league in terms of quality.

What I meant by the bars on Hurler is this:you know how on SFA's woodies the lap bar has a secondary bar that goes around to form a kind of hand grip? well on PKD's woodies it's just a straight ratcheting bar(indiviual of course) except for that one train on Hurler.

You can't go too far back on V:TBC to experience headbanging...I rode it up front last year & it was head bang central.

Crazy Horse,a word of advice for the park is to head to HS:XLC asap before the queue fills up....also be sure to try the new scooby doo dark ride,you've gotta search through kidzville in the back to find it but it's well worth it just for the queue theming alone.

Man BFSFA, you're like the Paula Abdul of ride judges. I was shocked at some of the scores you were throwing out there to rides that don't deserve such high scores. And, 360 on SD&tHM with two guns? Wow, you need a lot of practice. There's always next time.

One more thing-You want a Troika at SFA? Yuck. I'd rather see something a little bit more higher powered such as a Power Surge. *** Edited 7/22/2004 2:05:22 PM UTC by Intamin Fan***

That's just my opinion on PKD's line up....your mileage may vary.

SD:HM was my first dark ride experience so for the first couple of shots at the targets I was using the gun on the left side of the car,now thinking it wasn't operating right for some reason I simply switched to the gun on the right side for the remainder of the ride.

I'm sure my aim(& score) will improve by next season now that I'm more familiar with the ride & how it works.

No, you're right, you have the right to give as high of scores to the rides as you want. But, personally, I'm not a big fan of the scoring system. When you're handing out an award for example, what is the 10 in your mind (this is directed at everyone)? How many coasters have you been on to compare it to the one your grading? For example, you've given a 10/10 to Grizzly, but have you ridden Boulder Dash, Raven, or Legend (or any other handful of really topnotch woodies) that are far superior to Grizzly? If you've had a lot of experience, I would say that grading coasters makes sense. We would know that a 9/10 means it's truly one of the best out of a large sampleful that you've ridden. But seeing as you haven't ridden a whole lot (based on your tr's), then it doesn't make much sense. Just my two cents.

Oh, and I had to razz you about your score on SD&tHM. You're right, it takes practice. I just rode my third Sally Dark ride shoot-em-up at Lake Compounce (Ghost Hunt), and only managed a score in the 600's. *** Edited 7/22/2004 6:59:27 PM UTC by Intamin Fan***

nice report. i love PKD, but i can't believe you said with a straight face that the food there is tasty. i've always had friendly service, but jeez, the food stinks. i live in manassas too, so i know it's a long jaunt, but try to get down to Busch Gardens Williamsburg, and you'll be blown away.
Strange.. I think PKD is one of the worst parks out there. Their wood is poor compared to other Paramount Parks and ESPECIALLY SFA, and their steel is trimmed like crazy whenever possible.

H-XLC is a joke. The launch is ok, but the new seats are attrocious, the trains shuffles around the track, and the brakes are only good for laughing at those scared by the unbelievably loud, "wake the dead" screech/crunch.

Funny, you don't like ToD. Tower of Doom (although 800 feet, according to the ride op) is 3rd overall in my drop towers, after Acrophobia and PCarowinds Drop Zone. I just get more of the "holy crap" feeling out of the second gen'ers. PKI's Drop Zone does little for me either.

Volcano is the only thing worth visiting the park for, IMO.

*** Edited 7/22/2004 7:28:02 PM UTC by Homey G.***

Pezpunk wherabouts in Manassas are you? I'm just off route 234 not too far from the Sudley manor shopping center where K-mart is's about 15 to 20 minutes from my place by bike.

I-Fan: my ratings are based mostly on my past experiences at PKD & in comparison to SFA,now I have been to HP & BGW once a few years ago but generally never made it back due to the driving distance.

Vater's avatar
Heh...I used to hang out at Sharp Shooters all the time a few years ago.
Batwing Fan, you said that you were comparing Joker's Jinx with Flight of Fear. Of the two, which one do you prefer and why?

Hopefully I'll be able to hit SFA and PKD next month. I hope that SFA goes well considering all the negativities that I've read about that park.

-Look past the flesh...and see your enemy-
Sharp shooters Vater? man that is close to home,I'm not sure if they closed it down yet cuz I havn't visited that side of the shopping center for a while...I'm right down the street from there after you pass the 2nd traffic signal & turn left just past the church up there,I think I gave too much info on my exact location though.

I thought it would be fun to try to guess FOF's layout while in the dark going just by feel alone seeing as how both JJ & FOF are clones,as for which version of the two I prefer: it doesn't really matter to me because they're both the same but I lean more toward JJ because there's no MCBR to bring the train to a grinding halt like on FOF.

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